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Hazardous Materials | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Hazardous materials are commonly referred to as HAZMAT and can be found everywhere. Chemicals and other substances play a major role in our lives. They are in our homes, the stores we visit and industrial sites we live nearby. Some of these chemicals can be little more than annoying, many chemicals and the compounds we are routinely exposed to can cause death or long-term harm.
Evaluating the possible HAZMAT threats in your area is important. If you were a Marine squad leader you might hesitate to call for mortar support if the opposition forces were entrenched in a factory producing Methyl isocyanate(Bhopal disaster). The incident commander of your cities police department may not order a forced entry if the suspect is barricaded inside a paint or hardware store for some very good reasons.

The dynamic and constantly changing demands of law enforcement and the military bring many challenges—none are more perilous then exposure to hazardous chemicals. These chemical hazards can be in the form of dust, fumes, gases, and vapors. They cause poisoning, asphyxiation, and cancer. Other injuries may include severe burns, disfigurement, internal organ damage, neurological injury, birth defects, and respiratory problems.

Firefighters Cory Goehl, left, and Jerry Mast suit up in Hazardous Materials suits during a training exercise to contain a chlorine leak inside the Quincy Water Filter Plant on Front St. Wednesday.
(H-W Photo/Michael Kipley)


Law Enforcement and the military cannot of course stop operations in the event of possible chemical exposure, however, a lot can be done to mitigate such situations. Chemical gear and isolation equipment is important, what is even of greater consequence is training and awareness. Many first responders and combatants are trained on how to spot threats from hostile forces and the risk of direct or indirect fire. But how often do police and the military receive training on common signs that would inform them of the risk they might be headed into.

HAZMAT incident training is paramount for the military and law enforcement, it is important to everyone. Do your family and friends know where to go and by what route to take if there was a HAZMAT incident on the highway nearby? Or what to do if a train derails, or the nearby factory catches fire. It is important to note ahead of time where commercial chemical storage tanks are located, as well as that trucking distribution center down the road is. Local terrain features and such things as prevailing winds and tides also play apart when considering where to go and what routes to take.

Taking some time to learn of the local HAZMAT sources can be a lifesaving investment. A small amount of planning now can prevent a great deal of suffering later.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Robert Schwenk

Robert Schwenk began a law enforcement career by joining the U.S.Army's Military police corps in 1982.Over the course of his career, Schwenk graduated from four separate police academies, two investigative courses and numerous certificate and training programs.Schwenk served as an armed officer, with arrest powers with five separate law enforcement agencies. In 2009 Schwenk retired from federal service due to a medical disability.Schwenk currently has interests writing, consulting, investigating and internet services and security.
Robert Schwenk

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